The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet



    In the wrinkled hills, Linny will ignore anything to pluck the beautiful strings of the ukulele-like instrument called a lourka, even the threat of being taken to Away. In her village, girls under the age of twelve cannot touch the instrument without risking themselves.

    But then her best friend Sayra, who's never touched a lourka in her life, is taken to Away for Linny's crime. Linny knows the only hope for Sayra is the Plain, where an ancient battle is just beginning. It also seems someone is trying to destroy the wrinkled hills. Can Linny help both Sayra in Away and save her beloved hills and stop the battle?

   I loved this book! It's very unique and interesting. I'd recommend it for 10+.

   -Grace

By the Stars by Lindsay B. Ferguson




By the Stars by Lindsay B. Ferguson

Over the years, I have been asked to review many, many, many books. Because I haven't blogged often in the last couple years, I have mostly ignored email requests for reviews. When Lindsay B. Ferguson emailed me, I had to chuckle. She is my neighbor, and I was aware of her upcoming debut novel, but she didn't realize who I was. :) I told her that I'm a blogging slacker, and we decided not to have my blog be part of her big blog tour. You see...It gets sticky reviewing books for people you know. What if you hate it?

But...I bought the book on my Kindle the day it was released, and I wasn't just pleasantly surprised, I LOVED IT. I love that it is based on a true story, and I can't wait to talk to Lindsay about what exactly is history and what she created. I love the characters. I love the romance. I love it all. And you know what it really made me want to do? Like big time? Go dancing! Can we resurrect dance halls, please?

I know that among my friends, Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, was extremely well-liked. Edenbrooke was the first in a collection of "Proper Romances". For friends who love Edenbrooke and other clean romance novels, By the Stars should be your next read!

From Amazon: "When Cal finally gets a chance with Kate, the girl he's loved since grade school, their easy friendship quickly blossoms into a meaningful romance. Spirited and independent, Kate keeps a guarded heart due to a painful past, and Cal wants nothing more than to gain her trust. But World War II soon cuts their time far too short, and Cal prepares to part from her - possibly for good. After he's gone, what Kate does next changes everything. 

In the suffocating jungles of the Philippines Cal encounters the chilling life of a soldier and deadly battles of war. With Kate's memory willing him on, Cal must put his trust in God to survive if he hopes to ever return to her. Inspired by a true story, By the Stars is a love story that stands the test of time and the most intense obstacles."

A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielson


      On the morning of Barbed Wire Sunday, the people of East Berlin woke up to the sound of sirens. Investigating, they found that the government had found a way to stop them from leaving: the Berlin Wall. It was a great fence separating East Berlin from West Berlin. The two parts of Germany had been on tight terms for a while, and rumors of a third world war were plentiful.

      The one hundred yards of smooth dirt leading up to the wall was called the "Death Strip." And the fence slowly evolved over the years into a 11.8 foot cement wall. Guardtowers were set on top, where soldiers would point their guns at anyone trying to escape East Berlin.

      For twelve year-old Gerta, the rise of the Berlin Wall takes something more than freedom from her. A couple of days before Barbed Wire Sunday, her father and brother had traveled into West Berlin. The fence had split her family into two parts just like Germany.

     Gerta knows she must take her remaining family members in the East to meet her family members in the West. But escaping isn't easy, and getting caught means death.

  The German police threaten Gerta's family often, but the violence is minimal up until the end. I recommend it for 11+.

-Grace

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann


The Unwanteds By Lisa McMann


      In the world of Quill, creativity is bad. It counts as an infraction, and on the day of the Purge, every thirteen year-old is put into three categories: Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds are honored, Necessaries become slaves, and Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.When Alex Stowe is sent to the Death Farm after the Purge, he discovers that being Unwanted doesn't bring death... it brings the discovery of a whole new world called Artime.

       In Artime, creativity is allowed. Even encouraged. The wild-haired leader, Mr. Today, helps each artistic Unwanted learn that they can hold their title like a badge. Because in Artime, creativity is a magical gift... and a weapon.

       It's the first book in the Unwanted Series, and I am so excited for the last one to come out in April! If you like dystopian novels and magic, then you should totally try this book out!

-Grace

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine




Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a creative retelling of Cinderella. As a baby, Ella was cursed by a fairy to obey any orders that were given to her, no matter what they were. So when her mother dies and her father remarries, Ella must live with her stepsisters, Hattie and Olive. Quickly, Hattie discovers that Ella will obey her and uses that knowledge to her advantage. Instead of being treated as an equal, Ella is forced to be her stepfamily's servant.

Ella meets Prince Char. Together, they have exciting adventures. Slowly, they fall in love, but she knows that if she marries him, an enemy of the throne could command her to do something awful to him. She struggles to protect him and break the curse, but it seems impossible with such a burden as hers. Will she ever gain the freedom required to be with her true love?

-Grace


Picture Books with Morals

I made a list today of some of our favorite picture books that teach morals, so I figured I might as well share it here, too.

Acceptance:

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
Chicken Big by Graves

Being Happy with what You Have:

Old Hat New Hat by the Berenstains

Bravery:

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
The Woods by Paul Hoppe
The Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark by Diesen

Creativity:

Fanny by Holly Hobbie
Not a Box by Portis
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Go to Bed, Monster by Wing

Friendship:

Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt
Otis and Sydney and the Best Birthday Ever by Numeroff
A Visitor for Bear (and the rest of the series) by Bonnie Becker
You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
Enemy Pie by Munson

Obedience:

Strega Nona by dePaola

Positive Attitude:

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
Miss Rumphius by Cooney
The Pout Pout Fish by Diesen

Persistence:

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Fleming

Reading and Writing:

Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Crimi
Library Lion by Knudsen
More Bears by Nesbitt
Calvin Can't Fly by Berne
Max's Words by Banks
Interrupting Chicken by Stein

Service:

Little Blue Truck by Schertle
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Spinelli

Sibling Relationships:

Max and Ruby series
Flora and the Very Windy Day by Birdsall
A Birthday for Frances by Hoban






The Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker


   
     Princess Emma of Greater Greensward could never be the princess her mother wanted her to be. The way she walks, the way she laughs, and the places she goes - none of them were right for a princess.

     So when her mother tells her she has to marry Prince Jorge, she hides in the swamp, where she thinks she can hide. But when a frog hops up to her asking for a kiss, she realizes she was wrong. 

     The frog is an enchanted prince named Eadric. He convinces her to kiss him, and says that if she does, he will be released from the spell and transformed into a human again. But when the kiss backfires, Eadric is still a frog- and so is Emma! 

     8+. T I have loved this book for a long time, but just recently got it for my birthday. 

     -Grace